open your hands and walk

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innocence

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Innocence is being free

of forethought and reflection

~ I Ching

Our lives have become a dimension of mentation. Either our mind is occupied with forethought or with reflection. Most of the time these two in tandem keep our monkey-mind busy jumping from branch to branch. Innocence is beautiful and pure. How to return to innocence? Trust. This is something to contemplate on so that it can sink in more deeply into our being. Can we trust if we have not yet been touched by That? Any word we take will sell us short: God, the Great One, the Tao, the Mystery, Wakan Tanka. They all are symbols asking us to connect directly, in innocence, with our own True Being, because if we have not been touched by our own Self, we live in the shadow of death. Continue reading

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Song of the Grass Hut

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Grass Hut landscape

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Soanka, The Song of the Grass Hut

(Essay and Translation by Taigen Dan Leighton)

Soanka, The Song of the Grass Hut was written by Shitou (700-793BCE) during the time when Zen was first becoming popular in China as a practice of directly experiencing reality in seated meditation. The poem is a Buddhist expression of the Taoist archetype of the mountain sage, who forsakes ordinary social conventions for the solitary, spiritual life. As a result of the establishment of large Chan monasteries, this kind of solitary life in the mountain wilderness had almost disappeared in China by the time that Shitou moved to the South Peak Temple on South Mountain and built a hut on a large stone ledge.

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expand and illuminate the original truth

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Related image

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The Bright, Boundless Field

The field of boundless emptiness is what exists from the very beginning. You must purify, cure, grind down, or brush away all the tendencies you have fabricated into apparent habits. Then you can reside in the clear circle of brightness. Utter emptiness has no image, upright independence does not rely on anything. Just expand and illuminate the original truth unconcerned by external conditions. Accordingly we are told to realize that not a single thing exists. In this field birth and death do not appear. The deep source, transparent down to the bottom, can radiantly shine and can respond unencumbered to each speck of dust without becoming its partner.

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renewal

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While still in the dream state I was cutting into the flesh of our being, much like you would cut into a piece of fruit, for example an apple, in order to see how much had been affected by the decay that was seen on the surface. I was making small cuts and everywhere I cut I could see more decay. I saw that the decay was pervasive. I was aware that this was my/our own body that I was examining. While seeing the evidence of this general state of decay, at the same time “I” was not affected by the degeneration but rather I was in a vibrant state of renewal and vitality. As this thought entered my awareness I felt myself as a center of this revitalization. It was clear that I am called to hold my awareness, my focus on the quality of renewal despite all signs of decay and degeneration and to hold to the conviction that my inner-most being is continual renewal and vitality. It is again the metaphor of the two wolves inside me: one is the wolf of judgment, cynicism, despair etc and the other is the wolf of compassion, acceptance, innocence and the infinite force of life. Which one will I feed?

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soften your light

they softened their light and forgot about themselves

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Image result for famous meditation quotes

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LI HSI-CHAI says, “The ancient masters of the Way had no ambition. Hence, they dulled their edges and did not insist on anything. They had no fear. Hence, they untied every tangle and avoided nothing. They did not care about beauty. Hence, they softened their light and forgot about themselves. They did not hate ugliness. Hence, they merged with the dust and did not abandon others.”

commentary on Taoteching Verse 4

LI HSI-CHAI (FL. 1167). Taoist master, practitioner of Taoist yoga, and noted Yiching scholar. His commentary extends Lao-tzu’s teachings to the state as well as the individual. Tao-te-chen-ching yi-chieh.

My Comment:

In this verse of the Taoteching Lao Tzu asks us to consider an inner posture that allows us to be receptive to the Earthy Yin Qi. Li Hsi-Chai in this commentary mentions several benchmarks for this posture that we can contemplate more closely:

no ambition: this is the water-course way as water always seeks the lowest ground and does not strive beyond where it is;

dulled edges: can I let go of the sharpness of my mind that would love to split hairs and then split them again and again creating more and more separation;

no insistence on anything: give up my adamance and my rigidity and open up to the greater wisdom that wants to emerge in each situation;

no fear: looking at what I fear I can surrender to what is and find acceptance which dissolves the tension created by fear;

untie tangles: when fear subsides then I can reflect without any agenda and find the common ground;

avoid nothing: acceptance of what is and trusting that in union we will find all solutions;

not caring about beauty: the Taoist understanding is that each value creates its partner/opposite (ugliness) so having no preference opens me up to seeing both (all) sides of the situation and not being stuck in an agenda from the thinking mind (from the past);

soften our light: to me this feels like releasing the mind’s power of discrimination to allow all things to be seen in their inter-beingness and not with the analytical faculty that often prevents that sense of melding with the other;

forget about ourselves: compare Dogen’s Genjokoan: “To study the buddha way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away.” When I let go of my self-image as a center of perception and action then perception of Reality is possible.

not hate ugliness: any hate or rejection of anything is the root of the perception of something outside of me that I will either accept or reject. Thus I create dichotomy. 

merge with dust: here, too, I release my image of myself as something ‘better than’ and ‘separate from’ what it is that I feel is undesirable. 

not abandon others: this is to see myself as part of this great Being that includes all other beings whose forms appear in my field of awareness.

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I Ching Hexagram 59 Dispersion

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hexagram 59

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I Ching # 59 DISPERSION

Above Sun –  the Gentle, Wind

Below K’an – the abysmal, Water

Through hardness and selfishness the heart grows rigid, and this rigidity leads to separation from all others. Egotism and cupidity (greed) isolate men. Therefore the hearts of men must be seized by a devout emotion. They must be shaken by a religious awe in face of eternity – stirred with an intuition of the One Creator of all living beings, and united through the strong feeling of fellowship experienced in the ritual of divine worship. 

source

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